"Mary, Mary, quite contrary; How does your Neogarden
Like any other night, my owner was sitting by
my bed, reading my favourite poem from the book Neopian Nursery Rhymes, while
I lay snug under my covers, my eyes slowly growing heavy.
"That's all for tonight, Mary. You must be sleepy
now." She kissed me goodnight and flicked off the table lamp.
Total darkness ensued as she closed the bedroom
door behind her. I stared up into the ceiling, thinking over what had taken
place this morning.
"Good morning, Mary," my owner called cheerfully.
In response, I smiled back to her. It was time for breakfast, and the delicious
aroma of freshly cooked omelettes filled the pristine kitchen. One good thing
about waking up early was being able to enjoy such wondrously warm omelettes.
Which was why, though I liked sleeping in till the sun got too hot to bear,
I always made it a point to wake up early. Especially when it cheered my owner
up so much.
Indeed I loved making her happy.
"Thank you," I said as she gently placed an omelette
on my plate. There were only the two of us in the kitchen, but the saccharin
warmth and contentment with our lives was enough for me. I was more than happy.
In fact, contentment was extremely important
to us. After all, we were literally living below the line of poverty. Our Neohome
was shabbily built and threatened to collapse any time. We only had omelettes
- omelettes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Contentment with our poverty was
what kept us going as a Neo-family. Though we could not afford items of luxury
like bicycles and neggs, at least we have each other.
"Mary," my owner suddenly spoke up. "You've always
wanted to know the meaning of your name. I guess this is the right time to tell
I glanced up with interest.
"Mary_Yearning," she said, looking out of the
window, as if reminiscing her days as a newbie. "I always loved the name Mary.
It somehow reminded me of purity, of innocence, and of gentleness. And I want
you to be just like how the name suggests - gentle and pure. My little angel."
As she spoke, she reached out her hand to stroke the sparse fur on my head.
"Then what about Yearning?" I asked naively.
"When I first started out, I was to choose a
Neopet from the many different species. I couldn't find one that really suited
me, one that could connect emotionally with me. But then I saw it. Though it
was large in size and did not look very agile, I saw how innocent it looked.
It was a gentle and meek creature, as much as it's size begged to differ. It
was the perfect pet I was looking for."
My eyes widened with surprise as I listened.
Looking down at my small built that was typical of all Shoyrus, I could not
comprehend what my owner was talking about. Unless, that is, the dream pet she
was speaking of was not me.
Then the truth hit me.
"Mary, I have always wanted a Chomby. But it
was only too bad that it was a limited edition pet, and I could not have it
even if I wanted to. And so I resorted to picking another pet species randomly,
and thus you were born.
"I wished one day you would turn into a Chomby,
just like the perfect pet I saw. It was my greatest yearning, and so I named
I slumped back in my chair.
"All this while, from the time you were born,
I wanted a Chomby so badly. Yet I couldn't afford a morphing potion or the secret
lab ray map pieces, and so you stayed the way you were. And because I was too
poor to keep yet another pet - think about all the food and medical expenses
- I could do nothing but wish every day and every night…"
I could not believe this was my owner speaking.
What about all the lessons of contentment which she taught me? What about how
she always said she loved me as I am? Was she lying all along? Why didn't she
consider my feelings before telling me all these? I always thought that it did
not matter that we were poor, for at the very least we took pride in who we
were. Now, she was destroying that very pride that I held so dear to my heart
- my pride as a Shoyru, my pride as my owner's loyal pet.
"Recently I heard a rumour," she continued, ignoring
the discouraged look on my face. In fact, she was smiling now, caught up in
her own thoughts. "More Chombies are going to be released, and they're all up
for adoption. I don't want to miss this chance, Mary. It's a once in a lifetime
thing. I know I'll like one of them here…"
My heart flinched, and my face contorted into
a look of disgust. I couldn't help but feel a stab at my heart each time she
said the word "I". To her, it seemed now, everything that ever mattered was
getting a Chomby, for her own selfish pleasure.
"But I'll need your help, Mary." Now she was
looking in my direction, though not straight into my eyes like she used to.
She turned away again and continued, as if guilty of what she was going to say.
"I know you've always wanted me to be happy. Now…it's either you or the Chomby.
I can't have two pets - it's too much for me…"
Contempt burnt in me as I came to realise what
she was asking me to do. I could take it no longer.
"You should be ashamed of yourself! Do I not
deserve your love simply because I'm a Shoyru, and not some stupid Chomby? Am
I that worthless in your eyes? Am I not the pet you once loved? Or have you
never once felt affection for me?" As I screamed, hot, angry tears flowed. My
outburst seemed to shock her, for she froze in her seat, staring at me. Something
in her eyes told me she was disappointed. Possibly disappointed that I was not
her meek and obedient pet, disappointed that I had become such a violent, shrieking
beast whom she never knew.
But did she know that I was equally, if not more,
disappointed in her?
In my fury, I ran out of the place I once called
home, taking off into the air. For once, I felt the entire world was crashing
down around me. I must be the most unfortunate pet in all of Neopia.
I couldn't stop crying. My blue face was marked
with ugly tearstains, as if they're a reflection of the wounds on my heart.
As I remembered what my owner said, every word seemed to be a cruel knife, ruthlessly
piercing through my heart, hurting it even more.
No, I thought to myself. I mustn't cry for an
owner like that. She does not deserve my tears.
After a while of flying I got tired, so I landed
in a clearing. Strangely, I felt vaguely as if I had been to this place before,
though I could not remember it vividly. My eyes caught sight of a large building
nearby, and instantly, as if instinctively, I walked over to it.
Inside were hundreds and hundreds of Neopians
and newly adopted pets. No wonder I found this place so familiar. This was the
building for the creation of new pets! Now I remember - I was here only once
in my life, when I was just a newly created Shoyru. Right smacked at the centre
was a counter marked "Pet Registration". That was the place for deciding on
the names and interests of new Neopets.
I strode to the Pet Registration counter, where
every departing Neopian held their new pet's paw ever so tightly, as if afraid
of losing them. As the Neopians filled up the form on the pet's name, colour,
and interests, I noticed a small area beside the counter. There, the pets were
made to read out a small paragraph before they were handed over to their new
Not meaning to eavesdrop, I overheard a young
Chia proclaim loudly, "…I shall be loyal to my owner, obeying him, loving him,
and meeting his every need, in times of health or sickness, in times of peace
or trouble. I shall not turn against him, and most of all, I shall love him
with all my heart, as a pet would love its owner…"
"I shall be loyal to my owner, obeying him, loving
him, and meeting his every need…" those words echoed in my mind. They seemed
to speak specifically to me only, reminding me of the promises I made when I
was just a small Neopet. Yet, what am I doing now? What kind of a loyal pet
A painful tinge of guilt shot through my heart
as I was reminded of how I always used to strive to make my owner happy, whatever
it took. Almost immediately, I ran out of the building and flew right back to
"You were right, I really was too selfish. I
only thought about how I wanted a Chomby so much. But you know what? When you
were gone this morning, all I yearned for is you coming back to me. Partly because
I was guilty that I completely neglected your feelings, but I know mostly it's
because I love you. I've never said this, but I love you, Mary. Truly, truly
because of who you are."
A tear fell on my cheek. I was lying on my bed,
and like any other night, my owner was sitting by my bed. Yet, unlike any other
night, she did not have Neopian Nursery Rhymes opened up on her lap.
"So…you won't put me in the pound?"
She shook her head. Sincerely.
"May I have a request?" I asked again.
"Can you read Neopian Nursery Rhymes for me?"
"Of course," she picked up the book.
"Mary, Mary, quite contrary; How does your Neogarden